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Ask the iTunes Guy: Of missing genres and artist sorting

Kirk McElhearn | Jan. 5, 2015
Kirk McElhearn starts the new year by answering your iTunes-related questions.

Including a single with the accompanying album
Q: I frequently buy singles that are available before complete albums are released on iTunes. When the album is released, the single I bought earlier is separate from the complete album. For instance, Maroon 5's album V has 14 songs. I downloaded the single "Maps" before the full album was released. After I purchased the full album, the first song, "Maps," was not downloaded, and, in iTunes, "Maps" is tagged as a different album called Maps-Single rather than under the album V, which now has only 13 songs. How can I change the single's tagging so that it appears with the full album?

It is common that, when you pre-order an album, you get to download a single. As you say, the two are tagged differently: one with the single's name as the album, the other with the album name. I don't understand why this is the case-- if you're pre-ordering the album, it should be tagged correctly. Even if you do buy only the single, why should the album tag be different?

In any case, here's what you need to do. Put all the tracks--single and album--in a playlist. Select the single and then press Command-I. Note the track number of the single in the album; for example, in the screenshot above, and in the reader's example, it's the first track. Make sure to change the tag for the track number as well as the total number of tracks. So, in the example above, I change the single to Track 1 of 11. Then change the album tag of the single to match the album name. Click OK to save these changes. The tracks may not sort in the playlist, but they'll be in the correct order.

However, if you do want to have both the single and the album, check your Purchased page on the iTunes Store (look under Quick Links on the main page of any section of the store). On the Purchased page, click All at the top of the library, and then Songs. Find the artist in the left-hand column and you'll see all the songs by that artist. This should list all the songs the album contains as well as the single. You can just download the missing song to fill out the album and keep the single in your library if you wish.

Sorting by an artist's last name
Q: In iTunes 12 I've noticed that when I rename an artist, such as changing Selena Gomez to Gomez Selena, the last name doesn't sort alphabetically. Gomez sorts as S and not G. Any ideas on how to fix this?


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